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No going back

February 25, 2010

When something is a long way off, you know it will roll round eventually, but you don’t really engage with it. Take the Paris Marathon as a counter-intuitive example of this. I’ve known that I’m running it for months – the fact that I’ve been blogging about it for 16 weeks, and even alluding to it before then testifies to this – and I’ve been preparing for it with determination. But now that I’ve had my medical certificate accepted (thankfully, after the ordeal of that particular chapter in this adventure), I’ve booked flights to Paris, the hotel for the night before the race, ordered a shed-load of carbo gels to fuel my longest runs, it’s finally sunk in that this is really happening.

And here’s the thing: I’ve raised 30% of my sponsorship money. Not bad, but with approaching 40 days left until the big run, I need to get things moving.

I’m running the Bath Half Marathon on 7 March – in little more than a week’s time – and it will be the first outing for my bright yellow and blue Stroke Association running vest. As a warm-up run (’tis but a saunter at 13.1 miles) to test my pace and stamina, this is also a call to action for sponsorship. It’s time to reap the rewards of all those miles trudged through snow, ice, rain, wind, and all other forms of inclement weather.

What will my sponsorship money do?

The Stroke Association is the only charity in the UK to focus specifically on supporting the victims of stroke, and their families. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK, and affects around 150,000 people directly each year (not counting their families). While there are around 67,000 deaths from stroke in the UK, many people survive stroke. However, it can leave victims with limited mobility, speech defects, etc. In fact, around 300,000 people are living in the UK with moderate to severe disabilities as a result of a stroke.

Your sponsorship money can make a real difference through the work of The Stroke Association:

  • £10 would pay for a stroke survivor to attend a stroke support group.
  • £20 keeps the Stroke Helpline open for an hour.
  • £50 helps the charity to publish information booklets.
  • £100 could provide a day long talk by one of the charity’s Education, Training, Information and Support Organisers.
  • £15,000 funds the equipment for an entire research project.

My target is to raise £1000 – enough to keep the helpline open for 50 hours. That’s a real difference.

Sometimes these things are brought home to you. My stepfather’s mother has been ill recently; Aunt Bett has lived on her own since Uncle Roy died several years ago. She values her independence, and Mum and Pete make sure they visit her as much as possible. She’s recently been diagnosed as having probably suffered from a TIA – a kind of mini-stroke – which wasn’t diagnosed at the time. The doctors can’t be sure when it happened, but it has at least contributed to her current symptoms.

And so, my choice of charity is fitting. If you would like to support me, please donate via my JustGiving page. There are a couple of good reasons for why this is an effective way for you to donate:

  1. If you’re a UK resident, JustGiving makes Gift Aid straightforward, helping you give back some of the money the taxman snaffles away…
  2. Up to a total of £500, my employer will match the money raised. So, here’s the thing, if I raise £500 straight (and I’m £200 from doing that), my employer will add £500 to the total. Having 70% of my target left to make sounds like an up-hill slog, but it just needs a few people to nudge it closer to that all-important tipping point…

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far. If you’ve not donated, your support would be greatly appreciated.

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